April 20, 2014

Judge denies Ferguson request for new trial in Heitholt murder

On the day before the 11th anniversary of the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt’s murder, a Cole Co. judge has denied his accused killer’s appeal for a new trial.

Ryan Ferguson enters a Cole County Circuit courtroom in February for the evidentiary hearing to consider a new trial. File photo by August Kryger

Cole Co. Circuit Court Judge Dan Green calls the recantation of some key witnesses not credible, and has ruled in favor of the respondant, which is the warden of the Jefferson City Correctional Center, where Ferguson is serving his sentence for the murder.

Read the full ruling  HERE (PDF file).

Ferguson was a high school student in Columbia when he supposedly killed Heitholt. The details surrounding the early morning murder involve a confession stemming from repressed memories and bad dreams and a key witness who now says he lied when he positively identified the two serving time for the killing.

Chicago Attorney Kathleen Zellner says Charles (Chuck) Erickson told police Ferguson helped him kill Heitholt. He now says he acted alone.

Janitor Jerry Trump testified in 2004 that he saw Erickson and Ferguson at the crime scene, but now says he felt pressured to make that testimony, and that he really couldn’t make a positive I.D. on the suspects.

Click here to read more background from Missourinet.